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Lex & Forum – Second volume: 40 years of the Hellenic Republic in the EU

The creation of Lex & Forum has coincided with a groundbreaking legal and political development within the European family: the secession of the United Kingdom from the European Union after about 50 years of membership. The disruption of the judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters between the EU and the UK has caused a pressing need for the immediate scrutiny of the uncharted procedural environment, triggered by a hard Brexit in the field of civil litigation. For this reason, the first issue of Lex & Forum was devoted to the implications of Brexit in the area of judicial cooperation in civil and commercial matters.

Nonetheless, Brexit has not been the sole milestone which coincided with the creation of Lex & Forum.

On 1 January 1981 Greece became a member of the European Community. The launch of Lex & Forum witnessed the anniversary of 40 years since the accession of Greece in the EU and the application of EU Law in the country.

The second issue of Lex&Forum is dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the application of EU Law in Greece and its influence on Greek civil procedural law. The tone is set already on the preface, authored by one of the founders of International Procedural Law in Greece, Pelagia Yessiou-Faltsi. The anniversary is further elaborated with specific contributions revolving around two main axes: (i) the influence of existing EU Civil Procedural Law on native civil procedural rules; (ii) new developments in EU Civil Procedural Law.

In detail: the contributions of the first axis open with the analysis by P. Arvanitakis on the influence of “lex europensis” on lex fori and the old forum regit processum axiom, followed by an examination of the role of the national judge in the adoption of cross border interim measures, conducted by A. Alapantas, and an investigation into the importance of the case law of the CJEU on the interpretation of EU and national civil procedural rules by I. Valmantonis, and an analysis of the functioning of the European Judicial Network (EJN) by V. Sarigiannidis.

The contributions of the second axis begin with a presentation of the provisions of Regulation 2019/1111 on jurisdiction, the recognition and enforcement of decisions in matrimonial matters and the matters of parental responsibility, and on international child abduction by I. Delicostopoulos, followed by the analysis of Regulation 2020/1783 on the taking of evidence by L. Pipsou, and Regulation 2020/1784 on the service of documents by A. Anthimos. This part is concluded with a reflection on the future of common EU civil procedural acquis and its future by D. Titsias. The contributions aforementioned were presented during a digital conference on 26 May  2021.

The special focus of the issue is concluded with insights from law professionals (such as bailiffs) on the application of the upcoming EU civil procedural regulations.

The following section deals with case law. The crucial decision of the CJEU in Braathens (case C-30/19), a case where the Court examines the problem of the supremacy and effet utile of EU Law over national civil procedural provisions, is given priority. The CJEU declared that national courts shall go as far as to disapply a national procedural provision that precludes them from giving full effect to the fundamental right to a remedy under art. 47 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, especially in cases where, in terms of the law of substance, an alleged discrimination has taken place.

Furthermore, the issue hosts an equally interesting decision of the British High Court [2021] EWHC 178 (QB) on the interplay between the rules on lis pendens and the protective jurisdictional rules for the insured. In this case, Master Davison has reluctantly accepted that lis pendens rules of the Brussels Ia Regulation bar him from giving priority to the action of the insured person, as he is obliged to respect the lis pendens created by a negative declaratory action brought by the insurer in his native forum. I. Revolidis opens an interesting dialogue with the approach of Master Davison, wondering whether indeed the lis pendens rules can and/or shall undermine the protective jurisdictional regimes of the Brussels Ia Regulation.

With respect to domestic case law, reference needs to be made to the decision of the Lamia Court of First Instance no. 12/2021, which deals with joined actions, where the different joined claims fall within different EU Regulations or different chapters of the same Regulation, regulated in both cases by different and contradicting rules of international jurisdiction.

In the section of special issues, Lex&Forum hosts a practically important contribution by G. Anagnostopoulos on international jurisdiction in cases of judicial applications for the rejection of inheritance disposed by a person domiciled in Greece to the benefit of an underaged person domiciled in a foreign country.

Finally, this issue marks the creation of a new column (“L&F Praxis”), which will present the basic problems that occur from the practical application of EU civil procedural rules. In this issue, the column explores practical issues referring to the application of the European Certificate of Succession. The problems have been identified and systematically classified by A. Vathrakokoilis, who has also prepared a Greek case law digest on issues, such as the issuing a European Certificate of Succession when a will (domestic or foreign) has nonetheless been drawn up, or when statutory succession takes place.

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